Monday 22 January 2018

Google asked to take down 'homophobic candidate' remarks

Mark Savage: Google refused request to take down content
Mark Savage: Google refused request to take down content

Ray Managh

Former local election candidate Mark Savage has asked a court to direct that Google take down published items which he claims wrongly brand him as homophobic.

He is seeking judicial orders in the Circuit Civil Court against the Data Protection Commissioner and Google Ireland.

Following a brief court appearance, he said when he stood as a local election candidate he had "for public safety reasons highlighted as one of my election issues the use of Donabate beach by perverted gay men".

Mr Savage said defamatory remarks had been maliciously published to "deliberately mark me out as a homophobic, which I am not".

He said he was in a position in which anyone googling him saw a headline: "Mark Savage, North County Dublin's Homophobic Candidate."

Mr Savage, of Lios Cian, Swords, said that he had been refused a "Google take-down request". When he had asked the Data Commissioner to follow up on the matter, he had been "put off" on the basis that both parties had been awaiting the outcome of EC guidelines on such publications and take-down issues.

Mr Savage's application had been listed for mention so the court could be informed as to how long it might take to deal with a trial of the issues. He told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke it would take about two hours.

He told the judge that since the matter was of such public interest he would be asking for a protective costs order to be made so that, should he lose the case, he could not be met with a substantial legal costs bill.

Barrister Paul Anthony McDermott, who appeared for the Data Protection Commissioner, said Mr Savage should issue a motion in which he could formally apply for a protective costs order - the granting of it was a matter for the court.

An issue of discovery which Mr Savage was seeking regarding correspondence between the Data Protection Commissioner and Google could also be dealt with at the same time.

Judge Groarke adjourned the matter until July so that both motions could be heard. Google Ireland was not represented in court yesterday.

Irish Independent

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